Google Ads can be a tricky platform to master. One wrong setting, one missing conversion tracker, and you could be leaving a lot of revenue on the table. That is why we believe the path to a higher return on ad spend (ROAS) lies primarily in getting the configuration right, setting up an account structure that allows for the most granular optimization, and establishing an accurate way to measure customer acquisition cost (CAC) and ROAS. Without this foundation, all other improvements will likely be ineffective.
So, to maximize the returns on your Google Ads campaigns, follow these five steps:
- Implement single keyword ad groups (SKAG) for better targeting and optimization
SKAGs provide granular performance data related to keywords and their corresponding search terms. This account setup technique simplifies a number of aspects related to optimization, including identifying underperforming search terms (Google has become more liberal with search term variants that are matched with bidded keywords) and optimizing quality scores, since ad relevance and landing page relevance scores are reported to specific keywords. Without SKAGs, it would be hard to home in on the right keywords that drive pipeline and revenue.
- Double-check your account settings
Pay extra attention to the following items as they can have an outsized impact on your campaigns:
- Tracking parameters
Parameters in tracking URLs should be consistent across the board. Leverage ValueTrack (dynamic) parameters to ensure that unique identifiers are passed with each ad click, minimize any tracking mistakes that can happen with manual UTM coding, and expand the targeting attributes captured with each click.
- Quality score
Aim to achieve a quality score of 5 and above for all campaigns. A low score denotes poor creative or landing page relevance.
- Keyword matching
Match types have tradeoffs in traffic volume, cost, and conversion rates. Generally, we recommend budgets to be weighted towards exact and phrase match types to optimize for CAC. If there’s a need to further scale traffic and discover new search terms, then we’d recommend adding broad matches to the mix.
- Create dashboards to monitor revenue performance
You can’t improve what you can’t see. This may seem obvious but few marketers actually create revenue-based dashboards, likely because they do not have access to revenue data in real-time or a revenue performance platform that can pull it all together.
By bringing together accurate tracking data, first-party revenue data, and Google Ads cost data, marketers can increase revenue by 25% or more from their Google Ads initiatives. If you’re a Sona user, we recommend starting with the following three:
- Google Ads performance overview
This is an overview dashboard to track key performance metrics by time range such as ad spend, revenue per customer, CAC, ROAS, and monthly cost per campaign.
- Google Ads budget optimization
This dashboard is all about tracking ROAS with greater accuracy and distributing budget to achieve the highest yield. Key metrics include ad platform cost data, revenue, payback period, and ROAS (by campaign).
- Quality score optimization
This is a dashboard to track the performance of each campaign by keyword and match type, and to further allow full-funnel drilldowns (for deep dives). This will allow you to focus your quality score optimization efforts on high-performing keyword and match type combinations.
- Run separate campaigns for each match type (exact, phrase, broad) and distribute budget to maximize ROAS
Test the same keywords across campaigns with different match types and bids until you achieve your target CAC and ROAS.
For the same keywords in broad match campaigns, you’ll likely bid lower since Google includes a wider range of search term variants. Then, with separate match type campaigns and adjusted ad group bids, you can distribute budgets to maximize ROAS.
As an example, you could set a higher budget on broad match campaigns and lower ad group bids to achieve CAC and ROAS similar to exact match campaigns.
- Adjust ad group bids to maximize ROAS
With enhanced data and a clearer picture of ad group performance, you can adjust ad group bids to maximize ROAS and conversion volume. If you’ve implemented SKAGs, you’ll be able to more easily analyze performance for keyword and match type combinations.
By looking at search impression share metrics, you’ll be able to identify opportunities to gain additional traffic. And with granular ROAS data corresponding to ad groups and search impression share metrics, you’ll be able to see where to increase bids while maintaining ROAS.
You’ve probably read a dozen articles telling you to revisit your keyword lists, leverage geo-targeting, and use negative keywords, among many other things. That’s fine. But first, take a moment to ensure you have your account structure set up for optimizations and that you have the right data foundation to measure success.
Our customers have typically seen more than 25% revenue growth from Google Ads using the steps above. If you’re interested in achieving similar results, please request a free Google Ads revenue analysis today.